Maritime History

sepia view of sailing boat moored in brixham harbour

Fishing, boat building, tourism; the Napoleonic wars and two world wars; Berry Head Forts, the Reverend Henry Lyte, Nelson, the Olympic Games and Around Alone, the single handed global yacht race of 2002. They and many more activities and personages have helped shaped the Bay into the place we know today.

View the development and appearance of the Bay from Reverend Swete's charming watercolours of the mid 1700s through to lithographs and traditional photographs right up to today's contemporary digital photography.

Enjoy the unique contents of the Olympiad Album, a collection of photographs, celebratory programmes, even a set of special issue postage stamps from this, the last time the Olympics were held in the United Kingdom when the sailing regattas were held in the Bay.

Read the news of 1815, day to day accounts of Napoleon, his capture and imprisonment on the "Bellerophon" in Brixham. How he became in essence the first tourist attraction. This series of reports and articles were written by Napoleons contemporaries and reported and printed in a weekly newspaper. The 19 century English is descriptively rich and a joy to read.

Imagine the Bay filled from corner to corner with Royal Navy fighting ships, many huge battleships. Torquay harbour with moored submarines and a flying boat off the Paignton coastline. The beaches packed with happy visitors and the shore line crowded with bathing machines for hire.

This is a vast and colourful subject.

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